Aired on Treasure Island OldiesMay 2006

The name Rosalie Hamlin is not a name that many would recognize in the music field. However, thanks to her tenacity and talent, she was able to transform a poem that she wrote at the age of fourteen into one of the classic teenage ballads of all time, a ballad that was later re-recorded by John Lennon, who stated that this singer was one of his favorite American artists.


Rosalie Hamlin was born on July 21, 1945 in Oregon and spent her early childhood growing up in Alaska. She moved to the San Diego area with her family in the late 50s.

Early in 1960 at the age of fourteen, her mother gave her an old upright piano and she began taking instruction from her aunt. However, she had already acquired a taste for performing by singing lead for a group of musicians at local clubs in and around the San Diego area.

Inspired by their community acceptance, Hamlin and the group decided to record a poem that she had written about a teenage love. The recording took place in San Marcos, California in an old airplane hangar that had been converted into a studio. The approved version of the recording was generated from an old two-track machine and took over thirty takes to master.

With recording in hand but no record deal, the group took one of their 45s to the local Kresge store in San Diego and convinced the store manager to let his teenage customers listen to the song in one of their listening booths. This caused quite a commotion and demand for the record. As fate would have it, a distributor for Highland Records was in the store at the time and happened to hear the song.

Young and naïve, the group gave their master to Highland representatives without signing a contract. Three weeks later they heard the legendary Alan Freed promoting the record on air. Subsequently, they managed to sit down with Highland Records executives and sign a deal. Hamlin had to have her mother sign for her because she was not yet sixteen.

What was disturbing in the signing was that she was only recognized as the performer and not listed as the writer. This took years to straighten out before she was able to receive the royalties that she deserved.

In addition to this, the group disbanded before the record was ever released.

Rosalie Hamlin is better known in music circles simply as “Rosie” – her group that she was with in the summer of 1960 was called the Originals.

Hamlin’s favorite remake of her song was by John Lennon, a version that was produced by Phil Spector in the 70s and released posthumously in 1986. On the Menlove Ave. album, Lennon’s voice can be heard saying:  “This is one of my all-time favorite songs … my love to Rosie wherever she may be.”  You could say that Rosie was John Lennon’s “Angel Baby.”

YouTube video of this song;

This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.